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ENG
105

December
5, 2017

 

Sexual Harassment by Powerful Men
in The Workplace

 

            Lately in the media the news of
sexual harassment by powerful men in the workplace have been brought up in a
brighter light than before. Not to say that sexual harassment in the workplace
by powerful men didn’t happen before; it’s just that now victims of sexual
harassment has become more confident to come forth with the truth. The
workplace is supposed to be a safe environment where you go to work every day
so you can support yourself and family to have a better future. So, why do
these powerful men take advantage of their power and influence in the workplace
and use it against you?

            Why do these powerful men act the
way they do? Because of the power and influence these powerful men have they go
around thinking and acting like they are bigger and better than everyone around
them. Sexual harassment to these men is not about desire but domination. These
men believe in the acceptance of interpersonal violence, high authority, and
the desire to dominate women. They also have a hard time seeing other’s
perspective and showing empathy. There was an experiment done where one group
was assigned to a condition of power. People in the “powerful” group were prone
to two shortcomings. They develop deficits and are less able to read another
persons’ emotion and take other’s perspective. Not only that but testosterone
causes dominance and competitiveness and reduces empathy and concern for others
feelings. So, a high testosterone level amplifies all that which makes their
behavior worse than it already is. These men also overestimate the sexual
interest of women around believing that they are attracted more than they
really are. Powerful men have more of an overactive libido compared to a
“normal” man. They are willing to bet that they can get away with their sexual
activities. They expect sex whenever they want. They also expect that every woman
is willing to provide sex whenever they want and enjoy it.

            Why do powerful men make excuses for
their actions? They use your actions and behaviors against you. Powerful men entangle
and attempt to contaminate all of the best things about you. As stated in an
article by Jia Tolentino, “If you’re sweet and friendly, you’ll think that it’s
your fault for accommodating the situation. If you’re tough, well, you might as
well decide that it’s no big deal. If you’re a gentle person, then he knew you
were weak. If you’re talented, he thought of you as an equal. If you’re
ambitious, you wanted it. If you’re savvy, you knew it was coming. If you’re
affectionate, you seemed like you were asking for it all along. If you make
dirty jokes or have a good time at parties, then why get moralistic? If you’re
smart, there’s got to be some way to rationalize this.” (Tolentino) They
manipulate the way you think to turn it around and make it seem like you
could’ve have stopped it from happening but you didn’t which means deep down
you wanted it to happen.

            Why don’t sexually harassed victims
come forth with the truth? 87% to 94% of sexually harassed victims do not file
a complaint. 75% of those who did faced retaliation. These powerful men prey on
women who are inexperienced so that they can be penalized if they say or
implicated if they give in. If the victims come forth to an authority figure
they will be faced with unfair consequences. The fact that the person doing the
sexual harassing is their boss makes it complicated. They go to work hoping to
make a better future themselves and with this these men use their jobs against
them if they tell the truth. They fear telling the truth because they don’t
want to lose their jobs; not only that but these men can be so influential that
they can ruin your whole working career if they chose to. “It’s frustrating, because I’m here to make money to
support myself. I’m not asking to be approached, especially in an environment
where the customer is upheld above all else and I can’t just leave,” one woman
said. (Agrawal) Because of this they feel like they have no choice
but to endure the sexual harassment to keep their career going. Another reason
they fear telling the truth is that there is a chance they won’t be believed.

Furthermore, there are also
outsider who are not supportive. The outsiders may blame the victim for what
took place saying the victim brought the harassment upon themselves. They claim
that the victim must have acted a certain way for this to happen so they are
the only one to blame. Not saying that this circumstance hasn’t happened before
but it doesn’t mean just because the victim acted certain way before the
incident doesn’t give the right to these powerful men to go ahead and take
advantage of these women when they don’t want it.

            There are some cases where victims
still have relations with their harasser. They become so use to being treated
like an object that things about them they can’t change become reframed. They
maintain friendly with them in hopes that they’ll find out that he actually
cared and valued them instead of hoping for access to their body. The victims
may even try getting something out of the transaction whenever they can. To
outsiders this may seem like weakness, but in reality, it’s an attempt to gain
control.
             

            There is an article where members of
the Facebook community were asked to share their personal stories where they
encountered sexual harassment while working. These women agreed and have found
the courage to come forth with their stories of being sexually harassed. The
women who replied stated that they were harassed by either their customers or
co-workers. One said, “At a breakfast diner chain my manager put his arm
around me and tried to kiss me one morning when I handed him a coffee. When I
reported it, Human Resources required him to watch a sensitivity video and gave
me a ten-cent raise. At that diner a cook trapped me in the cooler and groped
me; a customer followed me to the parking and almost wouldn’t let me leave; and
another cook pushed me into my car after my shift and unbuckled his
pants. Food service is hell. (Agrawal)

 The movement of
#MeToo started when Alyssa Milano used her twitter by posting “If you’ve been
sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” to
encourage women who’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted to tweet a reply. Some
people shared their stories while other simply posted the hashtag and it wasn’t
just women who replied. Men also spoke up about their experiences with assault.
After starting this movement other actress and actors have joined in on the
movement. The whole point of #metoo movement is that it takes something that
has been kept quiet and brought it into the light. This movement is an attempt
to get people to understand the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in
society. (Gilbert)

            Sexual harassment in the workplace
by powerful men is something that should be talked about more. People need to
come together to stop these men from getting away with what they do. There
needs to be something done so that whenever someone gets assaulted by one of
these powerful men they are not afraid to come forth with the truth. Hopefully,
in the future these assaults by powerful lessen and lessen till one day it
doesn’t happen anymore but that won’t happen by itself. We as a nation need to
come together and fight this.

 

Cited
Work

 

Agrawal, Nadya. “21
Harrowing Stories Of Sexual Harassment On The Job.” The Huffington Post,
TheHuffingtonPost.com, 18 Dec. 2015,
www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/21-harrowing-stories-of-sexual-harassment-on-the-job_us_566f39b1e4b0fccee16f84d8.

Gardiner, Margaret. “Why Women
Don’t Report Sexual Harassment.” The Huffington Post,
TheHuffingtonPost.com, 21 July 2016, www.huffingtonpost.com/margaret-gardiner/why-women-dont-report-sex_b_11112996.html.

Gilbert, Sophie. “The
Movement of #MeToo.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 16 Oct.
2017,
www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/10/the-movement-of-metoo/542979/.

Lowen, Linda. “Why Powerful Men Sexually Harass Women.” ThoughtCo,
ThoughtCo, 16 Feb. 2016, www.thoughtco.com/men-power-and-sexual-harassment-3534217.